Four Decades in Spain
Looking back over these 40 short years, it is appropriate to record our heartfelt gratitude to the Lord for His faithfulness to us each step of the way.
Little did I know that winter night fifty years ago, when God in His grace brought me to the cross, what He would have in store for me. I could never have imagined how that incident would change my entire future.
God burdened me for His service, and after completing four years of study in our church’s Theological Hall and ministering for three years in the Castlederg congregation, Noranna and I set off for Spain under the auspices of our Mission Board on April 13 1977. The importance of this venture was obvious: We were the first missionaries sent out by our Mission Board. Our arrival in Spain, just after Franco’s forty-year dictatorship, coincided with a time of instability and change in the country, yet there was the promise of new liberties, not least the freedom to preach the Gospel.
We went to Spain without knowledge of any Reformed separated works. In the providence of God, in our second year we made contact with a Presbyterian church in Alcorcón, a town of about 200 000 people, 15 kilometres south west of Madrid. The Lord was already preparing the way for this to become the basis for our future in Spain.
Our first years were a real struggle, learning the language, and adapting to a new culture – everything entailed in becoming Spaniards. We owe a great debt to God’s people in Alcorcón for their untiring help and constant encouragement, and to our home churches who prayed so faithfully for us. In February 1981, our future in Spain was suddenly in jeopardy, due to a military coup led by an old ally of Franco. Only afterwards did we realise how mightily the power of God had acted in answer to the fervent prayers of God’s people.
Looking back over these 40 short years, it is appropriate to record our heartfelt gratitude to the Lord for His faithfulness to us each step of the way. We are grateful for the wise guidance received from our Mission Board and the tireless support of our Missionary Council. Also to the thousands of members of our various churches who have stood faithfully by us through the rough and smooth of these years. Thanks to their sacrificial giving and perseverance in prayer, we can testify that we “continue unto this day witnessing both to small and great” (Acts 26:22). Truly, “This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our eyes” (Ps.118:23).
Rev John Hanna